Sad Trombone Open Thread: When Grifters Start to Lose Their Grip

What if Trump threw a tantrum-rally, and nobody paid attention? Even the NYTimes couldn’t work up any real enthusiasm for the Toddler-in-Chief’s latest frantic attempt to salve his wounded ego:

In many ways, the speech was a return to first principles for Mr. Trump, reviving an insurgent theme that had fueled his campaign in 2016. He said the Russia investigation underlined the need to “drain the swamp,” and he celebrated his cheering supporters over what he described as the faithless elites in Washington.

“I’m president and they’re not,” he said.

“I have a better education than them. I’m smarter than them. I went to better schools than them,” he added. “Much more beautiful house. Much more beautiful everything.”…

The mood in the arena, however, was no more intense than at other Trump rallies. If anything, the crowd seemed a bit sedate as he began speaking. Many held up signs that said “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” reflecting the economic priorities that drive voting in this Rust Belt state.

And for all his indignation at the start of the speech, Mr. Trump lapsed into well-worn themes later in the one hour and 22-minute speech, even delivering a leisurely reminiscence about his election victory…

On the flight to Grand Rapids, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, two former campaign advisers known for riling up Mr. Trump on Air Force One before his rallies, were aboard.

Inside the White House, aides were concerned about the two of them tagging along — and possibly having open access to the president — but ultimately did not take steps to limit their travel, according to a person familiar with the planning.

Mr. Trump has long savored his victory in Michigan. But the state could be more of an uphill struggle in 2020. Democrats made significant gains in the 2018 midterm elections, including winning the governorship…

In Reuters’ two-minute video recap (below the fold), Trump doesn’t look triumphant, or even angry. His eyes keep darting from side to side, like he’s looking for the exit — or for the authorities…
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Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: *What* Is Jane Sanders Being Set Up For?

On the one hand, Bernie Don’t Stand Next to Me Sanders doesn’t have a lot of women on his campaign committee, and this year every campaign has to highlight some kind of feminist sensibility.

On the other, given the increased scrutiny of his (household’s) sources of income… well, I’m a cynic, but ‘my spouse handles all that financial stuff, I had nothing to do with those sketchy investments/deductions/campaign spending outlays’ is a time-honored (if usually ineffective) excuse when the records are finally forced open…

Before Bernie Sanders took the stage to formally launch his 2020 presidential campaign this month, the candidate’s most influential adviser took the mic. To cheers, Jane Sanders introduced herself to the Brooklyn crowd as “Bernie’s wife,” then conceded that wasn’t the most politically correct label.

To be sure, identifying Jane Sanders as “the wife” hardly captures the scope of her influence on her husband’s political career. Across 30 years and a dozen campaigns for federal office, she has served variously as her husband’s media consultant, surrogate, fundraiser, chief of staff, campaign spokeswoman and top strategist.

His political revolution has become her career. And her political and business activities have, at times, become his headache. As the Vermont senator undertakes his second presidential run and scrambles his inner circle, Jane Sanders remains his closest adviser, making her perhaps the most influential woman in the 2020 campaign who isn’t a candidate…

“Bernie Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016 criticizing her for the vast sums of money she raised and he seems to be following in some of her footsteps,” said Lawrence R. Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Now he’s raising vast sums of money and it’s being controlled and shaped by his family.”…

Yeah, I remember it being an (undercovered) issue in 2016, too — remember Old Towne Media?

It was to the Repubs’ advantage that Sanders’ sketchy finances not be investigated when he was running against Hillary Clinton. If the Sandernistas think he’ll get the same free pass in 2020, they’re even dumber more optimistic than they appear.

Open Thread: Sanders Family Grift Realizes It Can’t Withstand Public Scrutiny

Yes, I am a mean petty little person:

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Sanders Institute, a think tank founded by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ wife and son, is shutting down, at least for now, amid criticism that the nonprofit has blurred the lines between family, fundraising and campaigning.

The Vermont-based institute has stopped accepting donations and plans to suspend all operations by the end of May “so there could not even be an appearance of impropriety,” Jane Sanders told The Associated Press.

The unexpected move by the institute’s board of directors comes as Bernie Sanders, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, prepares for a wave of intense scrutiny into his political network and his family’s role in its operation.

As a candidate in 2016, Sanders criticized Hillary Clinton over her family’s nonprofit, saying the foundation run by Clinton’s husband and daughter amounted to a back door for foreign leaders and others seeking to buy access and influence. The Sanders Institute could open the Vermont senator to charges of hypocrisy.
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Late Night Eye-Roll Open Thread: Bernie Goes to Brooklyn

New York is always a high-stress venue, and the early 1970s was one of the rougher eras. Lots of natives fled for quieter climes — I was one of them! (And not ashamed I did, although I should not have persuaded my sweet freshman roommate from Iron Mountain that NYC had a secret lottery system requiring a certain percentage of city-born high school graduates to leave, in order to make room for all the Midwesterners who wanted to move into the Big Apple.)

Just a few years earlier, Bernie Sanders was another escapee, who went on to make a good life for himself in a whiter quieter place. But, one way and another, things have changed back in the nabe — and Bernie Is Back, Beyotches!…

But you just might be at Mirror-World CPAC, on the other leg of the political horseshoe. Different True Believers, same fevered enthusiasm for The Narrative!
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#CNN Townhall Open Thread: Bernie Should Definitely Run… in the *GOP* Primaries

Thanks so much, CNN media person, for your clarifying insight!

Shallow impression: Unless CNN’s makeup crew is moonlighting from their Industrial Light & Magic gig, Somebody seems to have had some work done. But has he, as they say, done the work?

Well, he’s had two years to come up with a better response than ‘My wife ate my homework does our taxes, also: printer glitch!’… and yet, here we are…

Sounds like the current Republican Squatter-in-Chief, yes?

Also: Nothing says I’m the real progressive! like screaming at a young woman who *dares* question you about your campaign’s history of mishandling sexual harrassment issues…

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